Jones, Ellis, Teach Yourself Acting, 1998, London: Teach Yourself Books
This is a terrific book written by one of the most experienced British acting teachers. It is a must-read. Ellis Jones is now Artistic Director, RADA Enterprises Ltd.
From the introduction:
No acting performance to my knowledge ever stopped a war, or prevented an epidemic. Because you felt deeply moved when you played St Joan in the sixth form and brought a distinct moistening to matron's fearsome eye ain't gonna change the price of mackerel, but you had a great time, and would love to do it over and over again.
The cruel fact is that you stand a much better chance of repeating the satisfying experience of acting if you stay in the world of the amateur.
Finish your university degree, take that teaching diploma, earn a decent wage during the day and go out and thrill the locals in the church hall three or four times or more a year.
I hope, seriously, that most people reading this book will take that advice, or harness their thespian urges to social, medical or psychiatric use.
I try not to encourage people to be professional actors. In pursuit of glory, or in pursuit of that elusive magical satisfaction from a part well played, or of glamour, or fame, too many lives are wasted. But for those afflicted with the vocational urge, I will try to point out the best choice of ways forward. For those who love the maid but choose to be her companion rather than her devoted spouse I will try to give some helpful pointers to a fruitful relationship.
What's so important about acting? What's so important to you about acting? Think carefully about what you want from it.
This book is available at amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0844202770/104-4427161-7076751?v=glance&n=283155
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